Oliver Franks

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Person.png Oliver Franks  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(Civil servant, diplomat, deep state actor)
Oliver Franks.jpg
BornOliver Shewell Franks
16 February 1905
Selly Oak, Birmingham
Died15 October 1992 (Age 87)
Alma materBristol Grammar School, The Queen's College (Oxford)
SpouseBarbara Tanner
Member ofBilderberg/Steering committee
InterestsMarshall Plan
Bilderberg UK Ambassador to the US, 'One of the founders of the postwar world'.

Employment.png Trustee

In office
1961 - June 1970
EmployerRockefeller Foundation
1 of 5 directors.

Employment.png Chairman of the Rhodes Trust Wikipedia-icon.png

Dates unknown

Oliver Shewell Franks, Baron Franks was an English civil servant, diplomat and deep state actor who has been described as 'one of the founders of the postwar world'. He was a member of the Bilderberg/Steering committee, among many other positions connected to deep state activities.

Knighted in 1946, he was the British Ambassador to the United States from 1948 to 1952, during which time he strengthened the relationship between the two countries. He was given a life peerage on 10 May 1962.

Early life

Franks was educated at Bristol Grammar School and Queen's College, Oxford. He became an Oxford academic, and Provost of Worcester College. He was a moral philosopher by training, serving as Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow between 1936 and 1946.

Oliver Shewell Franks married Barbara Tanner on 3 July 1931 at a Quaker meeting in Redland, Bristol. They had two daughters and she died in 1987.[1][2]

Franks seldom showed any feeling with "extreme natural reticence", and it was said that he was 'emotionally anaemic' but with an extremely logical thought process.[3]

World War II

At the beginning of the war he was employed by the Ministry of Supply, where he rose to become Permanent Secretary by 1945. During the war he achieved fame by replacing the supplies after Dunkirk, and also replaced supplies from losses in the Battle of the Atlantic. After the war he became Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Supply, and was involved in a lecture entitled Central Planning and Control in War and Peace.[2]

Post-war activities

Franks (standing, 3rd from left), as ambassador to the US, at the meeting of Truman and Churchill aboard USS Williamsburg (1952)

Franks was a Liberal and a great supporter of Clement Attlee. He was admired by Ernest Bevin. He had frequent conversations with Winston Churchill and Jawaharlal Nehru. After a spell as Provost of his alma mater, Queen's College (1946-8), he was summoned by Bevin in 1947 to head the British delegation at the European discussions about George Marshall's proposals of aid.[1] He helped found NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), and became chairman of the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation. He also had the dubious distinction of having on his staff at various times Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald Duart Maclean.[citation needed]

He was made ambassador to the United States in 1948. He held back from platitudes. In 1948, a Washington radio station contacted ambassadors in the US capital, asking what each most wished for Christmas. The French ambassador said he would like to see peace throughout the world. The Russian ambassador wanted freedom for all people enslaved by imperialism. Sir Oliver Franks wryly said: "Well, it’s very kind of you to ask. I’d quite like a box of crystallised fruit."[4]

When he returned to England from Washington he took up the post of Chairman of Lloyds Bank which he held only from 1954 to 1962, although he remained a director until 1975. Between 1960 and 1962 he was also chairman of Friends Provident.[2] He was a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group.[5] From 1962 to 1976 he was Provost of Worcester College, Oxford.[2]

Later life

Franks presented the BBC Reith Lectures in 1954. In his series of six broadcasts, titled Britain and the Tide of World Affairs, he explored the state of postwar politics, and considered Britain's changing political relationships with the rest of the world. In 1960 he came a close second to Harold Macmillan in the election of the Chancellor of Oxford University. There were 1,697 votes for Macmillan, and 1,607 votes for Franks. He was the chairman of a Commission of Inquiry at the University of Oxford in 1964–65.[6] Between 1965 and 1984 he was the Chancellor of the University of East Anglia.

He was Chairman of the Board of Governors, of the United Oxford Hospitals, and of the Wellcome Trust, and of the Committee on Ministerial Affairs, of the Honours Scrutiny Committee, the President Kennedy Memorial Committee, the Rhodes Trust, Schroder Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation. Franks died aged 87.[2][7][8]

Aged 77, in 1982 he conducted an enquiry into the events leading to the Falklands War, which ultimately exonerated the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her government from charges of having failed to heed warning signals of an Argentine invasion.



Events Participated in

Bilderberg/195429 May 195431 May 1954Netherlands
Hotel Bilderberg
The first Bilderberg meeting, attended by 68 men from Europe and the US, including 20 businessmen, 25 politicians, 5 financiers & 4 academics.
Bilderberg/1955 March18 March 195520 March 1955France
The second Bilderberg meeting, held in France. Just 42 guests, fewer than any other.
Bilderberg/195611 May 195613 May 1956Denmark
The 4th Bilderberg meeting, with 147 guests, in contrast to the generally smaller meetings of the 1950s. Has two Bilderberg meetings in the years before and after


  1. a b https://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-51039
  2. a b c d e Detail taken from the Obituary of Lord Franks dated 16 October 1992 in a British national newspaper.
  3. http://www.hsomerville.com/meccano/Articles/Franks.htm
  4. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3670133/Sandi-Toksvig-peace-on-earth-and-a-box-of-fruit.html
  5. hhttps://web.archive.org/web/20170310174203/http://bilderbergmeetings.org/former-steering-committee-members.html
  6. University of Oxford, Commission of Inquiry Evidence; University of Oxford, Hebdomadal Council, Commission of Inquiry; [Chairman, Lord Franks]. 14 vols. 1964-5
  7. Proceedings, American Philosophical Society (vol. 139, No. 1, 1995)
  8. https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/Annual-Report-1970-1.pdf
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